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Monday, January 30, 2012

Genesis 9:20-27 - How is This Account of Canaan, Ham and Noah to be Understood?

Genesis 9:20-27 - How is This Account of Canaan, Ham and Noah to be Understood?

This account records the occasion of Noah becoming drunk and the result of some obscure events involving his sons that took place during the state of Noah's inebriation. While the Bible doesn't say why Noah got drunk, it also doesn't say that this was a habitual or regular occurrence. In any case, whether Noah got drunk because drinking is a pleasant experience or over-indulgence in pleasure is a part of our imperfect nature, or for some other reason, there was no specific law against drunkenness at that time and so he violated no law apart from that of common sense. (Further information concerning alcohol can be found in the Alcohol Category.)

The record of this incident is very brief and likely leaves out details that would be illuminating. Many Bible scholars believe that Canaan was involved in some way not specifically mentioned. The account shows that when Noah awoke he "came to know what his youngest son had done to him". Rotherham's translation has a footnote on "youngest son", which reads: "Undoubtedly Canaan, and not Ham: Shem and Japheth, for their piety, are blessed; Canaan, for some unnamed baseness, is cursed; Ham, for his neglect, is neglected."
Jewish religious authorities take a similar view. The Pentateuch and Haftorahs, edited by J. H. Hertz, comments: "This vague narrative refers to some abominable deed in which Canaan seems to have been implicated. . . . Instead of showing filial respect and covering his father, Ham deemed the occasion food for laughter, and mockingly repeated the incident to his brothers." After noting that the Hebrew word translated "son" in verse 24 may also mean "grandson", this source states: "The reference is evidently to Canaan." The Soncino Chumash, edited by A. Cohen, points out that some believe Canaan "indulged a perverted lust upon him", and that the expression "youngest son" refers to Canaan, who was the youngest son of Ham. That some abuse or perversion or base lust, rather than a mere exposure of nakedness, may have been embraced by the words "saw the nakedness of his father" is apparent when it is remembered that incest or other sexual sins are meant when the Bible speaks of uncovering one's nakedness or seeing one's nakedness.—Lev. 18:6-19; 20:17.

Therefore, it seems that Canaan may very likely have been guilty of some abuse or perversion against the person of his grandfather Noah, and that Ham witnessed this without interfering. Instead he spread the story of the shaming of his father. Shem and Japheth acted to cover this shame. So they were blessed, the likely perpetrator Canaan was cursed, and the guilty bystander and tale-bearer Ham was personally ignored yet suffered through the shame brought upon his offspring. Such is the reasonable view taken by many careful Bible scholars, though the greatly abbreviated record as it has come down to us in the Bible does not supply all the details. God does not need to justify to us his dealings with such situations by giving all the details, which in this case might clarify Canaan's role in the matter. The important point is supplied, namely, that Jehovah caused Noah to utter the prophecy and Jehovah brought about its fulfillment. (See the 8/1/53 Watchtower. Also see the Canaan Category.)

Was Black Skin Color Really the Result of a Divine Curse Placed Upon Canaan?

Some so-called Christians claim that black skin color is the result of a divine curse placed upon Canaan and his descendants, consigning them to a position of servitude. But this cannot be correct in many ways. The black race descended not from Canaan but from Cush and possibly Put. And no curse was placed upon either of them. (Genesis 9:24, 25; 10:6) Additionally, Canaan was not black skinned, nor were his descendants who settled in the land that became known as Palestine. (Gen. 10:15-19). (For more, see: Where Do the Different Races Come From?; Search For Bible Truths)

The Canaanites were, in time, subjugated by the Israelites, descendants of Shem, and later by Medo-Persia, Greece and Rome, descendants of Japheth. This subjugation of the Canaanites fulfilled the prophetic curse on their ancestor Canaan. The curse thus had nothing to do with the black race.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

In Jude 9, why couldn't Michael the Archangel make a judgement against the Devil?

Jude 1:9 is one of the most common arguments presented in a desperate attempt to disprove Michael being Christ's prehuman name. Yet, to say this one must misconstrue Jude 9 and also require us to be ignorant of the Greek words used in these verses.

First, in Greek Jude 9 does not say that Michael COULD NOT "rebuke" (EPITIMAO) Satan. Rather, what he refused to do was to "judge abusively" or bring a "railing accusation" (KRISIS BLASPHEMEO) against Satan.

This is something that Jesus never did of anyone while he was on earth.

"Krisis does not come under category of accusation. But signifies a passing of judgement, a decision given concerning anything."—Vine's Greek Expository Dictionary; 28

The NIV says: "But even the archangel Michael, ...did not dare to bring a slanderous accusation against him, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

Although more powerful than humans, angels also do not use harsh abusive language (KRISIS BLASPHEMEO) even of human opposers (2Pt. 2:11).

And when Jesus did "rebuke" (EPITIMHSAI) the demons (Mt 17:18), it is made clear by the parallel account (Mr 9:29) that it still was not done on his own authority but through prayer to God (Jn.8:15,16,28; Jn.5:19,30). This is a different Greek word than that which Christ refused to do in Jude.

So Christ's rebuke of Mat 17 was not the same as that spoken of in Jude. This rebuke did not equal a final judgement, a KRISIS BLASFHMEW, something even Christ will not do until God's future time (Jn.3:17; 12:47; 2Tim.4:1; Heb 2:7-9; 10:12,13; Jd.1:6).

Further, these same words are used by “The Angel of the LORD (YHWH)” at Zech 3:2. And most Trinitarians agree that the "Angel of Jehovah" is the Christ, a so-called theophany. So even Christ as the Angel of the LORD refused to rebuke Satan, but said at Zech 3:2: "Jehovah rebuke you," exactly the words of Michael. The angel of YHWH and Michael both reacted the same way to Satan, saying 'Jehovah rebuke you' because Michael is 'the angel of YHWH'.

Also Jesus had to be GIVEN the power to judge (KRISIS) (2Pet. 2:11; Heb. 2:7-9; 10:12,13). Yet, even then it would not be of his own authority (Jn 5:19,30). So, Jesus didn't run ahead of Jehovah's appointed time for dealing with Satan. He also waited on God in heaven after resurrection.

So, while both Michael and Christ refused to directly rebuke Satan, now they BOTH do! In Rev 12:7 Michael rebukes Satan in the most forceful way, defeating him in battle with HIS angels, casting him down to the earth and then hurling him into the abyss (Rev. 20:1-3). This is something that the Scriptures said Christ would do (Mt 8:29).

Therefore, Jude 9 does not preclude Jesus from being Michael. Again, *both* Michael and Jesus had to wait for God to sanction their action against their enemies.

Jehovah's Witnesses' doctrine is not affected in the slightest if Michael is not Christ. Therefore, it is no problem if our logical conclusions regarding Michael are proved wrong when those new scrolls are opened! (Jn.17:3; 1Jn.4:15; Rm.10:9) On the other hand, Trinitarians are aware of the difficulties caused if Christ is identified as Michael due to the extremely strong implications of his inferiority.

While there is no evidence that Jesus is not Michael, the doctrine that Jesus is not God almighty is a very clear and explicit teaching in the Bible. At least 17 times scriptures say that Jesus has a God over him which clearly proves that Jesus cannot be Almighty God (Mic.5:4; Ps.45:7; 89:26; Mat.27:46; Mk. 15:34; Jn.20:17; Rom.15:6; 1Cor.11:3; 15:24-28; 2Cor.1:3; Eph.1:17; Heb.1:9; 1Pt.1:3; Rev.1:6; 3:2,12).

And Scriptures repeatedly show that Jesus is less than God at every point of his existence. At the highest position he will ever attain, Jesus still has a God over him and is "subject" to *GOD* the same way we are "subject" to him (Jn. 14:28; 1Cor.15:27,28).

Now, a comparison of Biblical statements lead to the reasonable and logical conclusion that Michael was Christ's heavenly name. Because of this solid scriptural evidence that Michael is Christ, even many Trinitarians have agreed that Michael is one of the names of the Christ, including most early Catholic and Protestant"Church Fathers," and many modern scholars.

Source: This is the Best Answer to this question from Yahoo! Answers

Additional Reading:
Archangel - Links to Information

Monday, January 23, 2012

At Job 40:17, is the "Behemoth" a Dinosaur or a Hippopotamus?

Not only does the context Job 40:17-23 describe the behemoth as similar to a hippopotamus, but a number of Bible translations (AT, La, Ro, NW, JB, RS) actually use the word “hippopotamus” in the main text or in footnotes to identify the creature referred to by God.

The tail of a hippopotamus is fairly short, measuring about 18 to 20 inches. But verse 17 says that it's the actions of its tail that are compared to a cedar, not that it looked like a cedar. This corresponds well to the hippopotamus because the animal has the ability to set its thick tail rigidly upright or swing it about like a tree.

Additional Reading:
Animal Creation Magnifies Jehovah (w06 1/15 pp. 13-16; "Behemoth Glorifies God")

BEHEMOTH (Insight-1 pp. 280-281; Watchtower Online Library)

Dinosaurs - When Did They Live? (Search For Bible Truths)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Dinosaurs - When Did They Live?

The following is an excerpt from the 2/8/90 Awake!: "Discovering `The Great Reptiles' of the Past" pp.7-11; Heading: "When Did They Live?"

When Did They Live?

Dinosaurs played a dominant role in life on earth during their age. But then they came to an end. The rock layers containing human fossils consistently occur above those layers containing dinosaur fossils. Because of this, scientists generally conclude that humans came on the earthly scene later.

In this regard the book Palaeontology, by James Scott, states: "Even the earliest species of Homo sapiens (man) lived long after the disappearance of the dinosaurs . . . After tilting (through earth movement) has been allowed for, rocks containing fossil men consistently occur above those preserving the bones of the great dinosaur reptiles and it follows that the latter belong to an earlier age than the human remains."

In the Red Deer River valley, there is a layer of sedimentary rock that contains dinosaur bones. Just above this, there is a purplish-brown layer that follows the contour of the hillside. On top of the purplish-brown layer is a layer of brownish siltstone containing fossils of subtropical ferns, indicating a hot climate. Above this, there are several layers of coal. Farther up the hillside are coarser-grained layers of earth. There are no dinosaur bones in any of the higher layers.

The book A Vanished World: The Dinosaurs of Western Canada states that "all of the 11 major kinds of dinosaurs . . . ceased to exist in the western interior at about the same time." This, and the fact that human bones have not been found with dinosaur bones, is why most scientists conclude that the Age of Dinosaurs ended before humans came on the scene.

However, it should be noted that there are some who say that dinosaur bones and human bones are not found together because dinosaurs did not live in areas of human habitation. Such differing views demonstrate that the fossil record does not yield its secrets so easily and that no one on earth today really knows all the answers.

(For additional reading, see the Dinosaurs category.)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why, while hanging on the stake, did Jesus Christ cry out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

At Mark 15:34, Jesus' final recorded words were: '"Eìli, Eìli, laìma saqbachqthaìni?" which means, when translated: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"

From the 4/15/1972, WT, p. 256:

Why, while hanging on the stake, did Jesus Christ cry out, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"—U.S.A.

Jesus' question was a quotation from a psalm of David. (Ps. 22:1) In David's case the question related to a momentary condition of abandonment. Surrounded by enemies, David found himself in a situation that made it appear that he was completely forsaken by Jehovah. The tremendous strain resulting therefrom moved David to ask why it had happened despite his being unaware of any guilt. But David had not lost faith, for in the same psalm he prayed: "Do make haste to my assistance."—Ps. 22:16-19.

Similarly, when uttering the words of Psalm 22:1, Jesus keenly sensed that his Father had momentarily withdrawn his protection and "forsaken" or released him into the hands of his enemies, to die as an accursed criminal on a stake. (Gal. 3:13) In asking "why," Jesus did not imply that he did not know the reason for this abandonment nor was he expecting an answer from his Father. The situation is comparable to that of a Christian who knows the reason for human suffering but is moved, under the weight of intense difficulties, to ask "why" either silently or audibly. The questioner thereby reveals that he has no reason to think that the suffering is due to his transgressions. Thus, besides fulfilling Psalm 22:1, Jesus' outcry evidently served to confirm his innocence and focused on the real purpose for his suffering.—Matt. 27:46; compare John 12:27, 28, 33.

The following is an excerpt from an article at JWitness Forum:

Why did Jesus cry out that God had "abandoned him" as he died?

Firstly, note that Matthew (the same author that reported Jesus final cry of 'abandonment' ALSO reported (in the same book) that some time earlier Jesus has said he would be killed but that on ".. the third day he will be raised up.” (See Matthew 17:23; Mark 10:45b) and both Matthew and Mark report Jesus' agony in Gethsemane which show he knew the events that were going to unroll.

So why did Jesus cry out that God had 'forsaken' him? (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34)? Jesus was first and foremost fulfilling prophecy as seen in Psalms 22:1 but this prophecy likely full reflected his feelings at the time. As was the case for the patriarch Job, Jehovah had removed his protection from Jesus; His father at that moment did not protect him from the feelings and effects of Satan's full attack and perhaps for the first time Jesus was totally vulnerable and exposed.

The Bible also says that Jesus indeed 'learned' things from his experiences on Earth (Hebrews 5:8). So while he [must have known] what his Father was going to allow, he obviously did not know how it would FEEL to experience them until he did. When he died, Jesus carried the burden of the "sins of the world" (John 1:29; see also Isaiah 53:4) and doing so learned what it meant to feel totally abandoned.

Remember, feeling and BEING abandoned are not the same thing. To illustrate: Many of us have felt misunderstood or unloved at some time or another. This may or may not be an actual statement of fact. Nevertheless, exclaiming "Why does nobody love me?!" is usually less a statement of fact [than it is] a reflection of how we are FEELING at the time.

Psalm 22 shows that the Messiah, even though he was perfect, would truly learn what it felt like to be an imperfect human cut off from his Creator. Amazingly, even in his agony, Jesus fulfilled this final heart-breaking prophecy.

Also see:

"God abandoned Jesus to his enemies by taking away His protection so that Christ’s integrity might be fully tested." (w11 8/15 pp. 12-16; Watchtower Online Library)

"The words spoken by Jesus while impaled on the stake, “E′li, E′li, la′ma sa·bach·tha′ni?” (Mt 27:46; Mr 15:34), are usually considered to be Aramaic, perhaps of a Galilean dialect..." (Insight-1 pp. 1068-1077; Watchtower Online Library)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Did Humans Eat Meat Before The Flood?

The Bible shows that God gave permission for humans to eat the meat of animals after the Flood of Noah's day, supplementing the diet of vegetation they were originally given. (Genesis 3:21; 4:4; 9:3)

Consider Genesis 9:3,

"Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for YOU. As in the case of green vegetation, I do give it all to YOU."

If the eating of animals as food was already in practice, there would have been no need for God to have even said this.

By saying, "I do give it all to YOU" suggests that at that point, both of these options of food were now available when one option wasn't before.

Other Bibles echo this suggestion:

"Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and just as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything." (NRS)

"Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you; and as I gave you the green plants, I give you everything." (RSV)

"I have given them to you for food, just as I have given you grain and vegetables." (NLT)

Conditions Attatched to The Eating of Meat

God states that the soul (life) of the fleshly creature is in the blood and is therefore sacred to Him. (Le 17:11-14) Not only is eating blood prohibited in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament the governing body of the early Christian congregation restated this prohibition, forbidding the eating of animals strangled or not drained of blood:

"That you abstain from ...blood." (Acts 15:29)

As has been addressed, originally, vegetation and fruit, and not flesh, were given man as his diet. But after the Flood, God added animal flesh, commanding, however, that "flesh with its soul—its blood—you must not eat." (Gen. 9:3, 4)

So God commanded that, before eating the flesh of an animal, his people were to pour out its blood on the ground and cover it with dust, being careful not to eat the blood, on pain of death. (Deut. 12:23-25; Lev. 7:27)

The eating of flesh by Christians is proper, but the apostle Paul pointed out that flesh is not absolutely essential to man as food when he said that if his eating of meat was a source of stumbling to other Christians, he would "never again eat flesh at all." - Rom. 14:21; 1 Cor. 8:13.

God Himself told us that we could eat meat from "every animal". "Every moving animal that is alive may serve as food for YOU." (Gen. 9:3)

So when someone carefully takes the strict precautions that God outlined by making sure that an animal is properly bled before consumption, they wouldn't be breaking God's command of eating blood. Since God Himself has issued these directions, obviously, if properly done, God does not have a problem with eating the meat from "every animal". Additional Reading: Should Christians Eat Red Meat Since it May Contain a Trace of Blood? (Search For Bible Truths)

Also see:

Blood - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Meat - Links to Information (Defend Jehovah's Witnesses)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What Happened to Those Who Have Died Before Jesus Christ Came to Earth?

Those who have died in the past will have a resurrection.

Many think that all good people went to heaven when they died and all bad people when to a fiery hell of torment. Both these ideas are incorrect according to what the Bible teaches.

First of all the Bible does not teach that hell is a place of torment. The Bible teaches that the definition of death is a return to the “dust” and an unconscious state (Gen. 3:19; Eccl. 3:20; 9:5,10; Ps. 6:5; 115:17; 146:4; Isa. 38:18,19; 63:16; Job 14:21; Ezek. 18:4; etc.). Eccl. 9:5,10 explicitly states that those in “hell” (Hebrew SHEOL) are unconscious and that everyone who dies goes there.

So the Bible clearly shows that everyone, good and bad, go to the same place; "Hell" (HADES/SHEOL) (Job 14:13; Gen.37:35; Ps.16:10; Acts 2:27, 31). This fact is hidden in many translations like the KJV which translate SHEOL 31 times as "grave" and 31 times as "hell" due to theological bias.

Second, the Bible explicitly states that nobody went to heaven before Christ (Jn. 3:13). Jesus was first be to ascend to heaven. The way to heavenly life was first opened up to imperfect humans only after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:20; Acts 26:23; Jn. 14:2, 3; Heb. 9:24; 10:19, 20).

All those who have died, good and bad, are "asleep" waiting for the resurrection (2 Pet. 3:4; Jn. 11:11-14; 1 Cor. 15:18; 1 Thes. 4:13-17). But those unconscious in death are not forgotten. The Word of God explicitly says that those in HADES (hell) will come out in the resurrection and that Hell is not eternal (Rev. 20:13,14; 21:4; Ac. 24:15). God will empty the “memorial tombs” by bringing the dead back to life (Jn. 5:28).

Scriptures plainly state that the resurrection of chosen humans to eternal life with Christ would only occur after Christ's return. God did not promise anyone that they would be rewarded at death. Instead, when humans died they would be asleep in death (1 Ki. 2:10; Dan. 12:2,13; Jn.11:11; 1 Cor. 15:6,18) and only receive their reward at the time of Christ's second presence (coming: KJV) in "the last days" (Mat. 16:27; 24:3; Lk. 14:14; Jn. 11:24; 14:3; 1 Cor. 15:22,23,51,52; 2 Tim. 4:8)

We do not even have to worry about any who have died in the past because Acts 24:15 states that “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” The “unrighteous” individuals that will be resurrected include the billions who died without having an opportunity to learn about God (Acts 17:30,31).

In past centuries many people died who did not know how to read and who had never seen a Bible. But they will be raised from Sheol, or Hades. Then, in the paradise earth, they will be taught God’s will, and they will have the opportunity to prove that they really do love God by doing his will. For their resurrection to be everlasting they must accept Christ’s ransom sacrifice (1 Tim. 2:3-6) and prove to be obedient through the final test (Rev. 20:7-10).

All those living will then experience what the psalmist said of Jehovah: “You are opening your hand and satisfying the desire of every living thing” (Ps. 145:16). There will be no war, violence, or crime (Psalm 46:8, 9; Proverbs 2:22).

“[God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)

Source: This is the Best Answer by BAR_ANERGES to a question at Yahoo Answers.

Also see:

Resurrection (Search For Bible Truths Category)